Murmur — R.E.M

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Murmur — R.E.MAs the brutal sun tips its sweat-drenched hat to another Southern summer, autumn’s oak and acorn aromas are brewing an olfactory overload of new sensations.

Music has a way of stirring sensory seasonal recollections, and 40 years ago, R.E.M., a fledgling band from Athens broke the mold, defined a genre and broadcasted a new sensation in popular music with its album, Murmur.

According to lore, R.E.M. was born with a fateful encounter at the local record store along with recruiting mutual UGA friends and acquaintances from distant hometowns to fuel the void of college boredom. After playing a gig for a friend’s birthday party, the rest is rock ’n’ roll history.

R.E.M.’s official full-length debut, Murmur, is still considered one the greatest records of all time with its obscure jangle-pop Americana vibe and non-conventional approach to mixing.

Stemming from a rebellious departure from the late ’70s mainstream, it defied the odds and trenched an underground genre of music coined “college rock,” which years later became “alternative rock.”

Their mashup of influences ranged from The Velvet Underground and Pattie Smith to Hank Williams Sr. and The Banana Splits.

Every track on Murmur has a distinct flavor that connects a warmly familiar vibe to time, place, season and sensory memory. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of this iconic album, it’s still the perfect soundtrack for autumn’s holler.

Chris Rucker